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Thursday's Most Active Threads

by Jeff Steele — last modified Mar 29, 2024 11:28 AM

The topics with the most engagement yesterday included things that make posters irrationally angry, Ivy League admissions results, women changing or not changing their last name when getting married, and DC school lottery results.

As I have said a number of times, DCUM has almost entirely grown organically with very little of it being planned. For the most part, we have followed the direction set by the users rather than trying to steer things in any particular direction. But to the extent that we had a vision for the website, we saw it as being primarily used for the exchange of helpful information. We wanted it to be a place where struggling parents might find advice to help them confront the challenges of parenthood in the District of Columbia. Obviously, things have turned out somewhat differently. For one thing, rather than relying on DCUM to indulge in their role as parents, for many users it is a temporary escape from those responsibilities. As such, DCUM is often simply a distraction and mindless entertainment. Today's most active thread is a case in point. Titled, "Things that make you irrationally angry" and posted in the "Off-Topic" forum, the original poster is irrationally bothered by people in the grocery store taking too long to choose pasta sauce or bananas. She wonders what similarly irrational irritations others have. The original poster is not alone in being bothered by the behavior of others at grocery stores. A number of other posters are similarly angered by various grocery-shopping activities. The other major provocation for irrational anger seems to be driving. Just as with grocery shopping, almost any aspect of driving, no matter how normal, is likely to make someone nuts. Obviously this thread was not meant to be taken too seriously, though some posters did address serious topics. More often posters took a humorous approach, such as the poster who is irrationally angered by monocles. Some posters get so irrationally angry when they can't find the scissors that I would hate to be anywhere near them when they finally did find the scissors. Adults eating various types of fruits also seems to set off a number of posters. Eating in general is apparently the source of much irrational anger. I was going to say that all of my anger is rational so I personally have nothing to add to this thread. But then a poster used the term "narc" to refer to someone that they considered to be narcissistic and I nearly flung my laptop across the room. A "narc" is either a narcotics officer or someone who narcs on you. Look it up.

We are at the time of the year when colleges and universities are releasing their regular decision application announcements. Having gone through early decision (ED), early access (EA), restrictive early access (rea), and variations of them all, we have finally reached what mere mortals consider the "normal" period of application. I would say that we have reached the bitter end of the college application process, but since some schools have rolling admissions, some stragglers will continue on. Yesterday was the date on which Ivy League schools announced their regular decisions. No surprise then that the next most active thread, posted in the "College and University Discussion" forum, was titled, "Happy IVY (reaping) day!". In certain circles it is now popular to dump on Ivy League universities and to act like they have lost their luster. But regardless of the naysayers, the schools still have an almost magnetic pull on applicants. Very few, given the chance, are going to turn down Ivy opportunties. As I have said before, many posters claiming that they have decided not to apply to Ivys are a bit like me deciding not to try out to be the quarterback of the Kansas City Chiefs. But some posters do have apparently real concerns about paying for the schools. As one poster says, "$100k for four years at UMD or one year at a top school. Hmmm…", comparing the cost of the University of Maryland to a somewhat exaggerated estimate of top private school costs. But for others, the calculus is much different. "Mine is at Ivy for less than UMD cost. Great FA for middle class", said a poster whose student apparently received significant financial aid. As the results came in posters reported how their children had fared. There was the usual smattering of rejections and waitlisting, but a number of acceptances as well. In some cases, posters described multiple acceptances. There could be a bit of trolling in this thread, but taking responses at face value, one poster wrote, "Accepted Harvard, Yale. Waitlisted Princeton", suggesting an extremely good outcome for that poster's child. For many an Ivy acceptance is basically a dream come true and such posters were overjoyed. But a number of posters were reporting heartbreak and disappointment when their results were not as positive. Posters who had gone through that experience themselves offered encouragement. One who had been rejected by two Ivys wrote, "I mean, yeah, it was a bummer to get those rejections, but it actually steered me to the right school for me in the end."

The next most active thread was titled, "Can't wait to change my surname, but notice many women keeping theirs, is there a reason for this trend?" and posted in the "Relationship Discussion (non-explicit)". This thread was started three months ago and had been inactive for some time. However, it was revived yesterday and, apparently, gained considerable renewed interest. The original poster says she is getting married in a few days and planned to take her soon-to-be husband's surname. She says that they plan to start a family and that she would love for them to all have the same last name. It's an indication that they are all "playing for the same team." But she has noticed that many women keep their maiden names. She understands this is cases where professional women have established reputations with their maiden names, but she also notices the practice among women who are homemakers. She is curious whether this is a trend and if it might cause problems down the road. Many posters say that their name reflects their identity and that they see no need to change it. They either don't mind having a different last name than their children or, in some cases, the children are using hyphenated names reflecting both parents' last names. None of them report any problems other than occasionally being called by their husband's last name. On the other hand, a poster who did change her name said that the process was difficult and even years later she finds instances in which her maiden name is used and it is a headache to change it. Other posters saw deeper implications to women taking their husbands' names with one citing the "patriarchal and misogynist undercurrents that led to women being absorbed into their husband's family and home". But the practice of women keeping their names provoked some surprisingly strong reactions. One poster sarcastically stated, "Millennial feminists are so self-absorbed and tiresome. Keeping your name is so empowering." Many posters are so bothered by women who either change their name or don't change their names that both of those should have been entries in the "irrationally angry" thread I started off with today. Some posters apparently are not aware that in many cultures, women traditionally keep their name. One poster mentioned this saying, "I kept my name because in my culture that is the norm." This poster also went on to write, "If you judge someone by whether or not they adopted their spouse's name, you've got too much free time on your hands."

The final thread that I will discuss today was posted in the "DC Public and Public Charter Schools" forum. Titled, "2024 Lottery Results", the thread was meant to collect the results of posters who had entered the DC public and public charter schools lottery which is run through the My School DC website. DC has long had school choice allowing students to attempt to lottery in to schools for which they are out-of-bounds or to get slots in charter schools. Many parents devote considerable amounts of time and effort preparing their lottery choices and then wait anxiously for their results. As such, there are some similarities between this thread and the Ivy decision thread that I discussed earlier. Interest in the lottery results was so strong that multiple threads on the topic were started, leading to posters reporting duplicate threads. But I was unsure which were duplicates and which were the originals. As such, we now have threads for middle school results, high school results, and at least two for the 2024 lottery in general. (including this one). There are also threads for specific schools and even threads posters have started about their own lottery results. As a result, today the DC schools forum is wall-to-wall lottery results threads. The way the school lottery works can be very frustrating, especially for those who are not familiar with it. Some posters receive great results while others find themselves at the end of long waitlists for every choice. Some initially have what appears to be a good spot on a waitlist, only to see themselves bumped several spots as students with sibling and other preferences move ahead of them. There is the occasional poster who took a flyer on a school that is normally hard to get into, only to get lucky and now has to choose whether or not to change schools. But most seem to get mixed results, finding themselves on various places on a variety of waitlists. In such cases, much of the discussion focuses on guessing which school's list will move the fastest and which are unlikely to move much at all. There are so many combinations and permutations that can happen with waitlist spots that posters are kept busy trying to explain and/or understand them. Similarly, many posters find that their best result is a school about which they know little to nothing. Therefore, considerable discussion revolves around whether or not those schools present good opportunities. While some posters ended the day happily as a result of luck in the lottery, others are left to suffer for a while as they wait for movement on the waitlists. "Please don’t check until May!", warned one poster who cautioned that there would be no movement before then. Nevertheless, several posters admitted that they would be checking regularly even though they knew it would be fruitless.

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